I participated in this years Gatwick accessibility day last Saturday and found it to be a very enjoyable afternoon. I took my mother and her partner and my daughter with her boyfriend. My mother has bad mobility issues and my daughter’s boyfriend has autism. My daughter and I have EDS and suffer with chronic fatigue, so travelling is exhausting.
Everyone involved were really kind and treated us very well. My mother thoroughly enjoyed it especially going on the airplanes. Both planes from easy jets and BA were brilliant to see without being packed with passengers. The cockpit was amazing to see! My daughter now wants to only travel business class!
The emergency services were fascinating and we learnt so much about stuff we take for granted. We learnt that there is a “disability security lane” at the far end of Gatwick North which would benefit Joe no end as he really struggles with crowds, but can’t understand why no one at Gatwick has never told us before even though we book special assistance?
We were ushered through many corridors that the public don’t have access to which saved a lot of walking for my mother but this isn’t realistic of Gatwick as if we were to travel she wouldn’t be allowed to do this. I do realise though that she would be able to picked up by special assistance in those instances.
The virgin lounge was lovely and everyone was helpful. We might consider using this again as we didn’t know it’s quite cheap!
The tour was really good and really helpful for my friend and I. I think it was all realistic, although I definitely won't be affording the VIP lounge or the fancy BA seats! I did get one comment from someone about how expensive the seats would be to fly, but I explained it was just for show. It was great to be able to sit in them though!
I think the journey was realistic, although of course they took us into staff areas where needed and into older security bits so as not to interfere with the public but it was all very realistic. Everyone we came across was lovely too and very helpful. All our questions were answered and we were told a lot about accessibility options.
I think my only negative would be the sign posting for the event. The emailed directions were very clear but when we got to that floor, I couldn't see any signs so asked a member of staff. He didn't know where we needed to go and tried to send us to the accessibility help-desk but we actually needed to go the other way. Once in the right location, there was a sign but it would have been helpful to have a few more on the route for people attending who may have needed them.